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tv   [untitled]    August 11, 2011 12:30am-1:00am PDT

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it is essentially an assist device to allow the person to function in life. another question you can ask is, what services this animal provide? a person may not want to necessarily disclose the type of disability, but this is an indirect way of getting to the person's disability. business owners do have the right to ask that. emotional support from animals, the 2010 standards clearly say that dogs that are used as theft deterrents as those be a comfort are not considered service animals. emotional support of animals are very different from psychiatric service animals.
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psychiatric service animals have been trained to do something very specific. and emotional support animal may not necessarily be trained to do something specific. whether they be well behaved in public or in a good citizen manners. they may have obedience training, but not necessarily to perform a specific task. there is a reason why people with disabilities or emotional disabilities will be able to get out of their house to go on about their business simply because they have an animal that helps with anxiety. if those things were not confusing enough, there are state and local laws and california state law that
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expands the definition. the rules are more inclusive under the housing act. we are now in this very complicated situation where you have an emotional support animal having essentially the rights of a person being protected in housing or being protected on the flights for the airlines. the same thing with other service animals that are not dogs. we have been in conversation with the department of unemployment and housing in the state of california. and they have talked about the fact that they intend to continue holding true to the original definition of a service animal, the more extended
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definition. we are sort of in a holding pattern right now, and we have alerted all of our city departments. we hold the same service and support animal policies as we have had, say you still see service burdens horse service cat's or emotional support dogs in a public library. the dilemma, as they explained, they provide a baseline of civil rights. you can always do better. if it is a local law, we're
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required to go with it. as i said, and they are going to extend the definition about not just a service animal, but assistance animal. that is a california term. so what is the possible solution? live been working with the communities, working with people with disabilities for people and advocates, other stakeholders can minimize the confusion and frustration to provide a clear- cut rules addressing the concerns of stakeholders. the small business community is a big part of that dialogue and conversation. what is really interesting, once the new rules have become
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public, many other jurisdictions are providing local ordinances that clarify the definition because this has been such a strong outcry of other service and animals that are no longer protected. what we need to hear from you and from the stakeholders you represent, and business owners have that with service or support animals. what has worked? what are some of the specific circumstances that may affect a particular business? is it a restaurant and grocery store? what are the facts about service and support animals in a place that serves food? what type of education or
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campaign horse and it would be helpful for them to have? what type of solutions? what type of items would you like to see that would help protect some of your interests? what are your concerns? with that, i hope i give you a brief overview. i am open to questions in discussions with you. >> commissioners? >> i like your out reach. a merchant organization would love to give you feedback. do we do that with the office of disability? do we get that type of information through regina? great. >> i have a specific question
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about the department of public health. they have been very aggressive in requiring cited prohibiting dogs in food service establishments. i believe, i would decide to know, is your office working with the department of public health and around confusion and clarifying this? >> under the ada, public health laws in establishments that are serving food are supposed to be suspended. the department of justice is very clear about service animals, basically saying that is a reasonable modification to allow a service animal even in this situation where there is food that is being served. again, as long as the animal is
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under control and behaved appropriately. the department of public health was invited to night to join us as part of this conversation, and we will continue to work with them directly. it is a matter of education and back and forth as we craft an ordinance. >> i would like to say that i understand working together. the practical difficulty, i believe, and small businesses, the sensitivity of questioning someone with a service animal is extremely delicate. there is a situation where the health inspector comes and and we are ethics bending the benefits of a food service to the establishment because the animal is well behaved and maybe
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there has been a very brief conversation, or not. for this place, this gray area. how do we know that our staff is respecting the rights of the people coming in. in the public health department understands the situation we are in. have been serious about enforcing the no animal rule. >> no pets or no animals? >> the are popping up all over town, and it is fairly recent, too. >> they want it in a very prominent place because apparently, there have been complaints about dogs on the premises. >> it is something we wish to --
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>> i guess they furnish material to the businesses. and maybe we can get some clarity. the other thing i want to bring up as the issue of service animals on public transportation. >> these other questions we get asked a lot. a service and support animal policy, they address with their drivers. if you want to talk about this, this is what will happen. >> any other questions from other commissioners? >> it looks like the federal authorities scaled-back quite dramatically. i would describe it as a very restrictive, almost in a way
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that is contrary to the interests of the physically disabled community. why did they tell in this down so much? what was the impetus behind them are moving so many classifications? i am trying to understand why they did that. >> i can only speculate. the organizations that train, is kind of a big business.
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>> there is not a very strong body -- >> i will open it up for public comment. >> more people died by suicide
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at the golden gate bridge than any other site in the entire world. you don't often hear the statistic because it is not something that the city is proud of. the importance, the validity, and the dignity of an emotional assistance dog. it is established in scientific literature -- is understood as a fact check can be someone in public that might be alone or get somebody to as " the group that might otherwise be terrified to be around a bunch of strangers.
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the only people i have come in contact with our people that like to tell other people what to do. i want to suggest that if allowing emotional assistance dogs in public can take even a small bite out of the other was terrible statistic the our city is known for, isn't it worth it? i think it is. >> i am a longtime resident of san francisco, and i am the person disabled by aids/hiv. this is my service animal and i
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want to lend my support to the argument and put another face on a situation that would severely restrict and hinder my access. and these new regulations would be enforced. he is probably my greatest resource for a marginal support. it is as this lady said, there are days because of my illness that i would not leave the house if it weren't for him. i don't think it is a healthy way to live. he has been trained in retrieval assistance. part of my disability involves neuropathy. i have trouble manipulating objects. there are times when the
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level of assistance to me -- that is, without -- i can't put a price on that. i hope you will consider the arguments made by joanna in a good light. i want to continue wonderful life that we have had up until this point. >> thank you. next speaker, please. >> my name is robert and i have lived in san francisco for over 25 years. but also was diagnosed with six months to live in san francisco
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24 years ago. i am lucky to be here. he is a small jack russell terrier. if it wasn't for him, i would not be here today. i have very severe depression and desperation. there was a time when i had nowhere to satay. i was living out of a suitcase. i thought he oved m -- loved me so much. i love him so much. i could not accept or understand i could leave him. i knew nobody could take care and love him a and how much he brings to me. thanks to him, i go out. he forces me to go out a couple of times a day.
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one of the beautiful things in san francisco is that he was welcome everywhere, and i have to say, i came back years ago. and experience. a problem. having to call the animal control department. the second one was more recent, where a restaurant i go about two or three times a week refused to serve me, this idea that my dog was not a service dog. it was an emotional support dog. i tried to explain to him that he was a medical psychiatric dog, but they refused to listen to me. animal control, showing them the tag. they refused to look at it and refused to call, so i left.
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i was really upset. i contacted animal control. they asked me to call the department of disability and city hall, and i talk to jessica and ken, who were very helpful with that. i sent a letter to the business, and i never heard back, so i just want you to know that the problem that i have your is that -- have here is that the law was changed by the federal government. it was wonderful with the animals here. now, the difficulty is to explain to a business owner that a dog or any animal is a medical animal. [bell] a suggestion that i have is to issue two tags, one for emotional service animals and one for medical service animals.
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that would help tremendously. president o'brien: thank you. next speaker, please. >> i have hiv and aids, and i have been over the years since i have had her, it brought my health back, and she keeps me from reinventing myself because i am not into sexual immorality, which is what caused me to contract h i v and drug addictions. i cannot do anything in front of my dog, so she is really a good deterrent for keeping me clean and sober, and she keeps me focused on my music. thank you. president o'brien: thank you
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very much. anymore public comment? take your time. clerk: 554-9632. fifi 4-9632 is the number to call if you are at home and went to call in -- 554-9632. >> my personal story is that there were times when i could not good to movie theaters, or i could not go into stores because sometimes they have those flickering lights, and there were several things that i could not do. so i trained my dog to alert makes about, for instance, the
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flickering lights. it takes a little time, but they can do it. the other thing is, i am very fortunate. i have not had many problems in san francisco with businesses. i have been very lucky. actually, whenever i have a problem, i like to educate staff or even supervisors about the laws. i have a little fly air which does pretty much what julianna talked about, and that is usually very helpful. i would like to encourage you to
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use those. do you use a service dog for a disability or as a pet, because oftentimes, there are people who are disabled. this is versus people who just want to bring in a dog, so if you have a disability, that is pretty much what it is about, that you verbally have this contract that is disabled, and this is the main thing i think businesses should note to truly asked about this for disability and what task the animal can do for you. this is a trustee -- a tricky question. if you tell them about this, it tells them about the disability, too. the cannot ask you what kind of disability you have. sometimes, that is a really tricky thing, but i encourage
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the businesses to make use of those questions, and it is a liability issue for us, too. and the other thing i would appreciate is is businesses would fix their little signs on the windows. that is pretty much it. >> -- president o'brien: thank you very much. so noted. any further public comment?
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>> hello, since i am a business owner, unfortunate, by ms. this -- my business does not allow animals unless somebody has an issue. all i ask is going for that people take into consideration that we work more hours and get paid less than many of our employees. this can prevent us from doing our business. there is quite an influx. so i just ask you to keep that in mind, keep in mind especially what small business owners need.
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this would be much appreciated. president o'brien: thank you. any further public comment? seeing none, public comment is closed. commissioner dooley? commissioner dooley: i am very glad we are having this conversation today and that there is somebody year from small business, and i look forward to work together to make this easier. i do not know where we are on the city with that, but it would be great if we were able to issue some sort of a small test that says service dog or emotional, so that people will not having to be questioning the
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is. that would be good for the disability community. also for the owners. you do not want to believe you are not being told the truth. sometimes they just want to bring their dog in the bar or whatever, and i think that would be really helpful to clarify that for both sides, and, clearly, and this is the best way to go, so thank you very much for coming in. we certainly look forward to working with you. president o'brien: commissioner clyde? vice president clyde: -- >> there is a narrow definition of service dogs.
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there is no requirement. it is illegal to ask for a documentation. one of the things that you brought up that perhaps we can work with, when the federal law establishes a standard, you cannot go below that standard, so we have to follow that rule, but now, we are talking about service birds or service monkeys or cats or emotional support dogs. we can actually have some documentation and if this is not feasible, something not visible as a guide dog or perhaps as an assistance dog for someone in a wheelchair, we can do without the attack, but something above and beyond of what the federal law requires. that is my own concern. >> --
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president o'brien: commissioner clyde? the commissioner can ask a question that can bring someone back. vice president clyde: with that beautiful bird, what is the specific barrier that you face when you enter a business with your birth? or a challenge, i think is the word? >> it has been a bit of a fight. i have had some serious problems. i was asked to leave the library at one point. i elevated it to the library management. for me, because he is not a dog with a tag, people just assume that he does not apply,

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